More than 200 Afghan Journalists jointly call on president Ashraf Ghani in an open letter to pay due attention to journalists safety and security and to seriously follow up on the cases of violence against journalists and media personnel, especially the cases that resulted in the deaths of journalists and media personnel since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Re: “End the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists in Afghanistan”
1 July 2020
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Presidential Palace(ARG), Kabul, Afghanistan
Dear President Ashraf Ghani,
We, the signatories of this letter, write to you as journalists working in different provinces of Afghanistan to express our deep concerns over the practice of culture of impunity for crimes against journalists while noticing increasing threats against journalists and media workers in the country. We consider the continuation of such situation detrimental to the advancement of professional journalism and freedom of expression in the country.
While we take into account the efforts made by the Joint Committee of Government and Media (Federation of Journalists and Media) chaired by the Second Vice President to follow and investigate cases of threats and violence against journalists, in particular cases related to the murders of journalists and media workers, we believe these efforts insufficient in bringing the perpetrators of crime against journalists to justice. We believe that in addition to the continued threats against journalists, the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists in Afghanistan is still in practice at large.
The findings of Afghanistan Journalists Canter(AFJC) and its partner organizations indicate that over the past 19 years (2001-2020), more than one thousand cases of violence and threats against journalists have been recorded of which 115 cases have led to the death of journalists and media workers, four of which occurred in the first half of 2020.
The data provided by the Attorney General’s Office show that it has only received 31 cases related to the death of journalists and media personnel and processed it. The status of these cases is as follows: six cases have been concluded at the primary courts; two cases have been processed and concluded at the appeal court; one case has been referred to the Supreme Court. All in all, only six cases have had a final verdict issued. This data clearly underscores that culture of impunity for crimes against journalists and media personnel is in practice by almost 95 percent.
We, the signatories of this letter, call on the Afghan government to pay due attention to ensure the safety and security of journalists and media personnel, and to seriously follow up on the cases of violence against journalists, especially those cases that resulted deaths of journalists and media personnel in the past 19 years. We demand that the Afghan government in close coordination with the Joint Committee of Government and the Media seriously follow up cases of violence against journalists and present a workable timetable for further actions, which should include the following, but not limited to it:
As most cases of crimes against journalists and media workers have been attributed to terrorists and illegal armed groups and many of such cases remain un-investigated, the perpetrators must be brought to justice. If perpetrators are no longer alive, their associated groups or organizers must be identified and brought to justice.
Legal actions (with no exception) must be taken against any government officials, security personnel and warlords who are accused of committing violence and threats against journalists.
An online database must be established under the supervision of the Joint Committee of the Government and Media to follow up legal proceedings related to cases of violence and threats against journalists. The database should provide regular and up to date information on the status of each case of violence and threat against journalists.
The President and other government leaders must clearly declare their long-lasting commitment and support to media and journalists in Afghanistan and provide strong assurances that the violators of the law and perpetrators of crimes against journalists will be prosecuted in accordance with the rule of law.
Signatories to this letter: 204 Afghan Journalists
list of the signatories
CC to the Offices of:
Mr. Amrullah Saleh, First Vice President
Mr. Sarwar Danesh, Second Vice President
Mr. Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga
Mr. Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga
Mr. Sayed Yusouf Halim, Chief Justice, Supreme Court
Mr. Mohammad Farid Hamidi, Attorney General
Ms. Shahrzad Akbar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations
United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA)
EU Delegation to Afghanistan
International Press Freedom Organizations;
Kabul-based diplomatic missions (Outside the EU) supporting freedom of expression and press
International press freedom organizations including:
International Freedom of Expression Exchange(IFEX)
Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ)
International Federation of Journalists(IFJ)
Reporters Without Boarders(RSF)
International Media Support(IMS)
International Press Institute(IPI)
Global Investigative Journalism Network(GIJN)
Free Press Unlimited
Press Emblem Campaign